It’s been an up and down season so far for John Curtis.
The Patriots entered Tuesday’s match with Lakeshore sporting a .500 record and having dropped three of four matches over the weekend in a tournament at St. Joseph’s in Baton Rouge.
Curtis got on track Tuesday, winning a see-saw match against visiting Lakeshore 3-2 in a battle of teams ranked in The New Orleans Advocate’s Sweet 16.
“We’ve been kind of shaky here and there,” Curtis outside hitter Sarah Drake said. “We really needed to come out and try to prove who we are. Hopefully we can build from this.”
The Patriots, ranked No. 8 in the small school rankings, improved to 9-8 and the Titans, No. 6 in large schools, dropped to 9-4.
It was Drake leading the way for the Patriots. The 5-9 senior finished with 14 kills, 16 digs and five aces.
“From the front row to the back row she’s been consistent for us,” Patriots coach Dawn Curtis said.
Drake had plenty of help. Reaghan Fabacher had 20 assists. Layne Estes finished with eight kills, and Tylar Sanchez had 17 digs. All four are seniors, looking to fill the void left from last year’s team with the departure of Tatiana Bell and Carson Wallow.
“Those two had a lot of kills and blocks last year,” Drake said. “We feel like we are finding the rotation now that really works.”
The teams split the first four sets, with Curtis taking the first one 25-19.
Lakeshore, led by the splendid play of junior Caroline Golden, dominated the second set, winning it 25-7. They reeled off 10 straight points during one stretch, turning a 7-3 lead to a 17-3 advantage
“We were a little nervous, especially when they had that long run,” Drake said. “It wears you down. But we picked it up.”
Curtis roared right back, winning the third set 25-22. Lakeshore responded with a 25-14 win in the fourth set before Curtis sealed it by winning the decisive set 15-9.
“It was a roller-coaster game for both sides,” Lakeshore coach Jennifer Hebert said. “We both had incredible highs. You can’t be disappointed about that loss at all. We did some great things, and every day is a learning experience for us. What did we learn today? We have to get on that high and stay there. We can’t let one or two points put doubts in our mind.”
Golden led the Titans with 18 hits, 15 kills and 21 digs.
“Caroline is just a great athlete, and that’s what makes her such a good volleyball player,” Hebert said.
Rebekah Koshak had 16 digs and 14 assists, and Victoria Caruso finished with 22 digs for the Titans, who host Destrehan on Wednesday.
Curtis hopes to keep the momentum going when it plays Haynes on Thursday.
“This was a good match,” Curtis said. “Lakeshore hustled, and they are just an all-around good team. It was a good win. We needed this.”